study finds parents often underestimate dangers of concussions

Are children diagnosed with concussions receiving proper treatment for their potentially serious brain injuries?

According to a recent study in the medical journal Pediatrics, the answer is often no.

Carol DeMatteo, an associate clinical professor at McMaster University’s School of Rehabilitation Science and the author of the aforementioned study, found that those children whose serious head injuries are not classified as concussions typically spend much more time in the hospital and return to school much later than children whose head injuries are merely classified as concussions.

“Our study suggests that if a child is given a diagnosis of a concussion, the family is less likely to consider it an actual injury to the brain. These children may be sent back to school or allowed to return to activity sooner, and maybe before they should. This puts them at greater risk for a second injury, poor school performance and wondering what is wrong with them,” said DeMatteo.

DeMatteo and her team of researchers recommend that both clinicians and researchers use the term “mild traumatic brain injury” instead of concussion in order to better inform parents of the severity of their child’s injury, as well as enable them to make the appropriate treatment decisions. Such a move may serve to prevent premature hospital discharges, and premature returns to school or physical activity.

Given the popularity of youth football and youth hockey in the state of Pennsylvania, it’s extremely important for both parents and coaches alike to remain vigilant about potential brain injuries.

Related Resources:
• Researchers: Concussions Not Taken Seriously Enough (

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